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Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares


The Institute of Transportation Engineers has released its "Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach," a 229 page recommended practice. The guidelines are designed to help agencies work toward improvements in mobility choies and community character by creating and enhancing walkable communities.

This report was produced by ITE and the Congress for the New Urbanism. The authors credit the several years of concerted effort by dedicated volunteers, including ITE members, CNU members and many other interested parties. These guidelines supersede the proposed recommended practice, "Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities," dated March 2006.

"Traditionally, through thousands of years of human settlement, urban streets have performed multiple functions," the authors note. "Mobility was one of the functions, but economic and social functions were important as well. Retail and social transactions have occurred along most urban thoroughfares throughout history. It is only in the 20th century that streets were designed to separate the mobility function from the economic and social functions. This report is intended to facilitate the restoration of the complex multiple functions of urban streets."

The guidelines establish context sensitive solutions to the design of walkable urban thoroughfares in places that currently support walking and in places where the community desires to provide a more walkable thoroughfare.

"Applying the principles of CSS enhances the planning and design process by addressing objectives and considerations not only for the transportation facility but also for the surrounding area and its land uses, developments, economic and other activities and environmental conditions," the report notes.

The princles of context sensitive solutions include:
Meet the needs of users and stakeholders
Are compatible with their setting and preserve scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources
Respect design objectives for safety, efficiency, multimodal mobility, capacity and maintenance
Integrate community objectives and values relating to compatibility, livability, sense of place, urban design, cost and environmental impacts.

This report has been added to Best Practices

Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach